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Rand Paul Won the CPAC Straw Poll for the Third Year in a Row

Congratulations to Rand Paul, Son of Ron, for winning the Conservative Political Action Conference'sPost reports that around 3,000 CPAC attendees participated in the poll this year.) Texas Senator Ted Cruz came in third (11.5 percent), Ben Carson came in fourth (11 percent), and Jeb Bush rounded out the top five with 8 percent.  straw poll for the third time in a row. Paul the Younger took 25.7 percent of the vote, while Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker came in second place with 21.4 percent. (The Washington


Cleveland Blames Tamir Rice for His Own Death

The family of Tamir Rice — the 12-year-old who was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer while playing with a toy gun — recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the two cops involved in the shooting, Frank Garmback and Timothy Loehmann. The lawsuit, which includes at least 27 allegations, accuses Garmback and Loehmann of excessive force (Loehmann fired at Tamir within seconds of pulling up to him), indifference to the boy's medical needs (he lay bleeding on the ground for almost four minutes before someone arrived to give him first aid), and notes that officers tackled and pushed Tamir's 14-year-old sister as she tried to attend to her brother. The Rice's lawyers also claim that Cleveland has been "withholding substantial evidence and information" and that the city has failed to properly investigate the incident. 

Cleveland has responded to the lawsuit. »

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Trial Is Still Going to Be in Boston

Once again, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has failed to get his case heard somewhere outside the immediate vicinity of the 2013 Boston bombing. On Friday, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected Tsarnaev's request for a change of venue, despite his lawyers' claim that their client cannot get a fair trial in Boston, where nearly every potential juror has some connection to the 20-year-old's alleged crimes. The decision was split two-to-one, with judges Sandra L. Lynch and Jeffrey R. Howard ruling that Tsarnaev's trial should remain in Boston, and judge Juan R. Torruella dissenting. 


At CPAC You Have the Right to Get Weird

“It’s hard to punch through here,” Travis Brown, a writer for the anti-tax website How Money Walks, is saying. Standing in front of us, a towering silver robot with glowing red LED lights in his eyes and chest plate takes a clunky step forward. “We need to be creative. There’s so much going on.” The robot takes another step forward. A college-aged girl walks by asking who he is.

“Govtron is a robot built and fueled by government inefficiency,” one of the robot’s handlers says. “So he’s armored with pages of the Obamacare bill, he’s got a red tape cannon, he’s stomping on some Gadsden snakes as we speak, stomping on your freedom. We’re pitting this super villain against the How Money Walks Reformers, which includes Captain America and Iron Man, as well as Iron Patriot.” Behind him, a man in a Captain America costume gives a halfhearted wave. “That is so funny!” the girl says. “And what is his name? Goovtron?”


GOP Can’t Find Votes to Pass Its Own DHS Bill

Republican leaders in the House tried to prevent the midnight shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security by passing a stopgap bill that would fund the department for three weeks, leaving time for both parties to debate what should be in the final budget. It didn't work.

The final vote was 203 to 224, with many conservative and tea party Republicans voting nay, as well as most of the Democrats in the minority. Conservative Republicans want to include a provision defunding President Obama's executive order on immigration, while House Democrats want to vote on the bill that would fund DHS through the year, which has already passed in the Senate. With only a few hours left to go before the end of the day, options for avoiding shutdown are running out. Representatives were warned that additional votes tonight and this weekend may be necessary. 

Russian Opposition Leader Boris Nemtsov Reported Dead

Russian news outlets have reported that Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin and prominent critic of Russian President Vladmir Putin, was shot in the streets of Moscow, near the Kremlin, on Friday night. One of Nemtsov's fellow opposition leaders, Illya Yashin, told one Russian news website, "Unfortunately I can see the corpse of Boris Nemtsov in front of me now. At the Bolshoy Zamoskvoretsky Bridge. I see the body and lots of police around it."

The politician, who led several opposition parties over the course of his career, was scheduled to help lead a march on Sunday. 

The Guardian notes that it has been a decade since the last assassination of a politician in Moscow. 

How Net Neutrality, Unloved by Very Powerful People, Made It

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission approved new net-neutrality rules, and, as you'd expect, everyone on the internet is now wondering what it all means

But seeing as the rules still need to survive bureaucratic lethargy, Congress, and litigation threats, who knows exactly what the change could mean, and if consumers will even notice. (The New York Times reports that the Netherlands still exists despite similar regulations having been in place there for two years.)

The question of why net-neutrality rules were approved yesterday despite massive protest from powerful broadband companies with armies of lobbyists and the Republican majority in Congress, as well as the fact that the FCC is currently chaired by someone many pro-net-neutrality advocates have been skeptical about, is a slightly easier thing to unpack.

The chain of events leading to yesterday's vote began when a federal appeals court in D.C. struck down existing net-neutrality rules in 2014 and the FCC began to consider whether broadband companies should be able to charge websites for better access, among other changes coveted by that industry.

The FCC opened up the debate over these possible changes to the public, and the agency was flooded with millions of public comments being filed — taking the telecommunications outrage record from those who complained about Janet Jackson's Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction in 2004. The Sunlight Foundation analyzed the comments and found that a majority seemed to support net neutrality.

After the commenting period closed, President Obama — who is on the record in support of net neutrality since at least 2007 — weighed in with a pro-net neutrality statement and mentioned that the FCC should listen to what the public was telling them. On Thursday, he tweeted about the FCC’s decision, again calling attention to the activists: “That's the power of millions making their voices heard.” He also sent a note to Reddit congratulating the efforts of its users: "Earlier today, the FCC voted to protect a free and open internet — the kind of internet that allows entrepreneurs to thrive and debates over duck-sized horses and horse-sized ducks to persist." White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest noted yesterday that the new rules were "in line and consistent with the position that the President had articulated last November."

If there’s anything we’ve learned about the president during his career and campaigns, it’s that he loves nothing more than being able to #humblebrag about his grassroots support. And after the electoral losses that occurred right before Obama's big net-neutrality announcement, the White House was a bit hungry for some love from its base.

7 Actually Good Things That Happened This Week

February is the cruelest month. It was bitterly cold, everyone kept getting a stomach virus, and my horoscope — which promised everything from professional acclaim to a romantic getaway — was even more wrong than Inhofe is about climate change. But it's the last Friday of the month, which means we're almost free of February's dastardly clutches. And Spring is only 21 days away! Here are seven good things to kick off your weekend.


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